Montessori-inspired Backyard Bird Activities

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Last summer we emptied our backyard of our Swing SetCozy Coupe CarWagonWater CenterDown Roller Coaster, Sandbox, and accessories.  T.here were several reasons for this, one being that the kiddos were getting bigger and were literally growing out of the outdoor toys.  The second reason was that they weren't using them, and if they did use them, they weren't using them appropriately.  Third, they were constantly fighting and arguing with each other.  Outdoor time was becoming meltdown city.

We discussed getting a swing set for bigger kids, but no one really wanted that.  The idea of purchasing a trampoline was tossed around, but we ultimately decided it wasn't the best choice for our kids.  Finally we decided to leave the space wide open for athletic activities.  And so it was for the remainder of the Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring.  It didn't go so well!  Though my kids enjoy sports, playing them outside with each other can be compared to war.  It was not pretty.

The bottom line is, my kiddos have a horrible time keeping their senses regulated outside.  There's just something about the fresh air that makes them crazy. Bulldozer's outdoor experience is even more challenging because of his severe environmental allergies and sensitivities to heat.

As my husband and I contemplated what to do with our backyard in order to create a space that was inviting and calming to the kiddos, we decided to create a Montessori-inspired space with specific sensory activities that would appeal to our kiddos.  Today I share with you the first completed phase of our plans.  The kiddos are so excited about it!  Jason and I couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out.  Check out our Montessori-inspired backyard bird area with activities!
Our Montessori-inspired backyard bird area and activities are located under the walnut tree in the backyard.  You'll notice a Squirrel Buster Peanut Plus Wild Bird Feeder, Brome 1016 Squirrel Buster Finch Feeder, hammock, and bird bath.  A basket of materials is also provided as an invitation to bird themed activities that invoke the senses.  Here's what it includes:

1. Bushnell Falcon 7x35 Binoculars are perfect for kiddos who are ready to use real binoculars as opposed to toy ones.  They are just the right size, not too big, and not too heavy.  Including binoculars as part of our Montessori-inspired backyard bird activities provides opportunities for kiddos to obtain visual sensory input they may need of while outside.

2. The National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America is great to have on hand and works as a control when bird watching outdoors.  There's nothing more frustrating than seeing a bird and not knowing what it is.  All of the kiddos enjoy this book in one way or another, whether it be for the pictures or facts.
3.  The mini Bird Journal is the perfect pocket size book to record all of your bird sightings and discoveries.  Kiddos write the date, location, name and description of the birds they see.  There's also a place for more notes if desired.  Dinomite has already put this to great use.

4. Twig Graphite Pencils are paired with the mini bird journal to encourage the writing process and provide tactile sensory input for those who desire it.  Some of our kiddos love these pencils.  Dinomite however does not.  He does not enjoy the feel of them and actually changes his pencil grasp to accommodate while using them.  (Can you guess he's super sensitive to tactile input?)
5. A Spiral Bound Artist Drawing Pad/Sketch Journal is provided for the kiddos who aren't comfortable writing about birds in the bird journal, or for those times when you just feel like drawing birds.

6. Twig Assorted Colored Pencils are provided for drawing and coloring birds in the sketch journal.  All but Dinomite enjoy these.  There have definitely been a few heated debates as to who can use them first.  
7. The Audubon Bird Call is everyone's favorite item in our basket of backyard bird activities.  I must admit it's pretty amazing.  Kiddos push down and twist the red knob to mimic bird calls they're hearing in the yard. When they do it correctly, they're extremely excited to see birds come to the yard and/or respond to the call.  Though perfecting different calls can take time, the process of using the bird call is a fabulous fine motor activity for little hands.  All of our kiddos really enjoy it!  
Sunshine does not like the feel of grass touching her skin, so she brought her classroom mat outside for activities.
I am so pleased with how well all four kiddos have responded to the first phase of our plan to create a Montessori-inspired backyard space.  The bird activities have been a huge success.  Kiddos are taking turns filling bird feeders when needed.  They keep the bird bath full of water, when it doesn't rain.  The best part about our new space is that it invites feelings of calm and peace as sensory needs are being met, and encourages a love and appreciation for nature and all of it's beauty.

For more bird activities be sure to check out our three bird units!



If you're looking for children's books about birds, this post is a great place to start!

This post is part of the 12 Months of Montessori Series.  For more inspiring Montessori posts about nature and the outdoors, please visit the links below.
Montessori Inspired Bird Unit - Mama’s Happy Hive
Nature in the Field | Grace and Green Pastures
Listening Scavenger Hunt to Explore Creation | Christian Montessori Network

12 comments:

  1. I love this picture of the basket with a journal and wooden pencils. The kids really look like they are enjoying the set-up in your backyard. That is so cool that the birds respond to the bird call whistle.

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  2. I love the serenity you have created in your back yard. It is so peaceful. I must get the bird call! The twig pencils are gorgeous too.

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  3. Love these ideas! We don't have a lot of outdoor space but I really want to make the most of it. Thanks for this inspiring post :-) #whatevertheweather

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  4. It's looks like a very calming and educational outdoor space you've created. We're inspired :) #Whatevertheweather xx

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  5. Looks like a great outdoor space, I love these ideas! The bird call sounds fantastic #WhatevertheWeather

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  6. These ideas sound so good!!! We really need to make more use of our outdoor space. We'll be trying some of these out. Thank you so much for sharing with #whatevertheweather x

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  7. What a fun way to learn! Thank you for stopping by the Learn & Play Link Up. This post is featured on Christian Montessori Network this week!

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  8. What a fun way to learn! Thank you for stopping by the Learn & Play Link Up. This post is featured on Christian Montessori Network this week!

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  9. Oooh, great ideas! I love your bird backyard area, I especially like the sound of the bird call. I've never seen anything like that before, I want one! Thanks so much for linking up to #Whatevertheweather :) x

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  10. What wonderful activities, I can't wait to do bird watching and feeding with my littles when they're a little older and the hammock looks so comfy and relaxing #whatevertheweather

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  11. My Daughter LOVES Birds, one day she just knew their names. This would be So MUCH Fun For Her!! Great ideas.

    Thank you for sharing with Everything Kids!

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  12. Oooh a great selection of fun, educational activities - thank you!

    Laura @Dancing dandelions #whatevertheweather

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